Sunday, June 09, 2013

Public Speaking

Me and Ryan were asked to speak in our church today. I don't think I've mentioned previously, but we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While Ryan isn't too bothered by public speaking it completely terrifies me. The last time I spoke in church was 13 years ago. I'm hoping today will cover me for the next 13 years. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I was asked to speak about how me and Ryan met and a little bit about us as a family and to bear my testimony. So I thought I'd share what I said here for anyone who'd like to know us a little better and how we get together.

So, if you read the introduction there's four of us: Ryan, me, our son Russell who is 5, and our daughter who is 4-months. We live in Santaquin, UT and have for 3 months now.

Me and Ryan actually grew up together. He was the next door neighbor of one of my friends. We also went to the same schools and everything, so I knew who he was. But he was a year younger than me, which makes a difference when you're young. I couldn't associate with him too much because I was so much cooler and wiser than him being a year old. Actually, I'm still cooler and wiser, but we don't let the age gap get in our way anymore. We've matured. Anyway, my family moved when I was 15 and I didn't see Ryan for another 10 years. I didn't give him a second thought over those 10 years.

During the next 10 years I worked as an insurance agent, went to school, traveled. I also married another man. I was sucked in by his tan good looks and charming personality. Also, once we were married we moved to Australia. The Australia part was unfortunately the best part of our marriage. Great country though. We separated and eventually divorced when I was just 6 weeks pregnant with Russell and I did the single working mom thing for a few years.

Ryan spent those 10 years being a little more productive than me. He joined the church when he was 17. After high school he went to BYU for a couple years. He served a mission in Lubbock, TX. Then returned to BYU to finish up his degree in electrical engineering.

We reconnected at a hot chocolate party a couple days after Christmas. Ryan was home for Christmas break. I didn't really want to go to the party. It was on a Tuesday night and I had work at 6:30 the next morning. But I decided to make a quick stop in. As I was getting ready to leave I heard somebody say my name behind me. When I turned around it was Ryan. 10 years had really done him well. I was smitten. I ended up staying at that party a little longer than I had planned.

A few days later, in the classiest way possible, Ryan asked me out via a Facebook email. I accepted and we had our first date on New Year's Day. We had sushi and went bowling and played arcade games. I totally beat him at ski ball. It was the best first date of my life. It left me wanting more. Unfortunately, Ryan left the very next day to go back to BYU. We stayed in touch via Facebook, texting, video chat, and going back and forth to visit each other.

On Memorial Day weekend Ryan surprised me by driving out from Utah to California (where I was living at the time)all night arriving at my house around 9 a.m. with a roses and a ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes. Obviously. He moved out to California that summer for us to be together and plan our wedding. We were married the next November. We stayed in California through Christmas, but after Christmas we moved back to Provo for him to finish his degree.

Ryan just graduated this past April and accepted a job at IMSAR building radars and we left Provo and moved to Santaquin. We love it here. We have the best neighbors, it's quiet, everything is great.

Ryan was asked to speak on the priesthood. He did a great job! I was proud. He spoke about how the priesthood is the power of God. Therefore, it's the responsibility of the holder to act in a way that Christ would. Ryan pointed out how often times you think of acting with the priesthood you apply it to major things in your life. However, there was a talk by Elder Holland about said it should be applied to all facets of life. One of the aspects of life Ryan applied it to was parenting. There's a scripture that says you should be slow to speak, but quick to listen. Anyway, how with parenting you should be more patient and stuff.

He also spoke on other things the priesthood is used for such as father's blessings, blessing of healing, giving Marcy a name and a blessing, and how honored he feels to hold the priesthood and be able to do these things for his family and children.

Anyway, we got through the talks. Ryan a lot smoother than me. But I did it. I did something I truly fear and makes me feel like I'm going to vomit. But I didn't vomit, just to be clear. But I hope it will be another 13 years before I have to experience that again.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Visit Home to California

For Memorial Day weekend we went down to California to visit out families. We left at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday the 22nd and drove all night. We took my grandma with us as a surprise for my mother. She hasn't visited California since my wedding 2 years ago. Driving all night proved to be a good choice with two small children who slept most of the drive and required very few stops. Fewer stops is a plus on a drive that's already 12-hours. So we arrived at my parents house at 3:30 a.m. We crept inside as quiet as you can be when you're totally exhausted, but my mom heard us and came downstairs. When she realized we had Grandma with us she was very surprised and was everything I was hoping it would be for her.

This particular visit was a busy one. Not only was it Memorial Day, but the 26th was my dad's 54th birthday, we blessed Marceline on that day and had a family gathering for everyone in the area to come see Grandma, and the 27th was my youngest brother, Joe's 18th birthday. A lot to cram into 5 days. Let's get started ...

We were all understandably exhausted on Thursday. We visited with my family in the morning. Then in the afternoon we went down to see Ryan's family. My best friend Katrina came over to the Bartley's home and visited for a while. That evening I took Marcy and went with Katrina to meet up with a couple other friends, Raquel and Victoria, for some Sushi at Blue Nami in Folsom. Best sushi ever. Go there if you're in Folsom. It was so awesome to see my friends! I have missed having good friends to hang out with. While I was at dinner, Ryan took Russell over to his friend, Nick's house to visit.

Friday and Saturday we spent visiting with friends and family and going back and forth. It was good. It's always so nice to see everyone. I miss them. And I know Russell misses his grandparents. He loves visiting California. He's always so happy when we're there.

Sunday was the big day. We had almost all the family in the Sacramento area over to my parents house for Marcy's blessing and as a sort of mini reunion for everyone to see Grandma. We got a bit of a surprise when my Uncle Joe who lives in Idaho showed up. That was great to have him there. I'm glad he came. Uncle Joe was really special to us kids when we were little. Marceline received her name and blessing, which was beautiful and I loved watching my husband give. I'm so thankful to be married to such a good man who's worthy of the priesthood he holds and can perform these ordinances for our children. I'm thankful for all the good men in my life who were able to help Ryan give Marcy her blessing. I'm also thankful to have such open minded in-laws who are supportive of our religion even though it's not their beliefs. My life is filled with such wonderful and good people! Some of the things I remember from Marcy's blessing was Ryan blessed her with health, intelligence, and good friends in her life. There was more but I can't remember it right now. Side note: the blessing dress Marcy is wearing was my blessing dress that my grandma made for me 27 years ago. After the blessing was the party. Boy, did my mom prepare a feast. A tasty one at that. Thanks to my Aunt Connie for helping her with that and saving my mom's sanity. She's saved my mom's sanity on more than one occasion. My mom counted all the people that came. In total there was 44 people and all but 6 were my mom's family.

After the party was over and it was just our family we celebrated my dad's birthday. 54-years old. He's an old man. Almost senior citizen age.

Monday was our last day in California and it was my youngest brother, Joe's 18th birthday. His birthday was a little more low-key. We had dinner at In-N-Out (his favorite restaurant), played the "headbanz" game at my parents house, and had the msot delicious mint chocolate trifle. Mmmm. We said our goodbyes that night to everyone and left back for Utah early the next morning.

That was a bummer of a drive. It's already a terrible and long drive (usually about 12 hours), but since we needed to take my grandma home to Logan first that added an extra 2 hours to our drive. We left Sacramento at 7:30 a.m. and arrived back at our house in Santaquin at 10:30 p.m. It was worth it though.

Grandma's getting their new baby fix in:

Car Ride:

Dinner with friends. L-R: Raquel, Victoria, Katrina, me.

Marcy's blessing, reunion, and Grandpa's birthday:

Joe's birthday:

Random pictures from the weekend:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I had the pleasure of having my grandma come and stay with me for a few days and see our new house. We moved down to Santaquin, UT last March (see another blog entry for the fun details on that move). The closest town just north of Santaquin is Payson. Little did I know that my 4th great-grandparents settled Payson way back in the mid-1800's. I wouldn't have known that if my grandma hadn't come to visit and told me casually while we were driving through Payson. My grandmother is very big on genealogy. But it's not just enough for her to map out the family tree; she likes to visit the places of these people if at all possible and she has a collection of items that belonged to people that have been passed down over the years.

Anyway, one of the things she's always wanted to see was Payson and to visit the graveyard there to see if she could find our ancestors. Once day while Russell was in preschool we drove up there. We drove through the cute little town and down Main Street and I showed her around. We stopped by the construction site of the LDS temple and checked it out. Then we went to the graveyard. We had some trouble finding them at first and needed pointing in the right direction by one of the cemetery workers, but we found them at last: Israel Calkins, Jr. and his wife, Lavina.

Considering that my grandma will be 86 this year, I'm glad I could help her check this one off the list.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Flea Market Flip

I really love flea markets and I really love repurposing, "upcycling", or refinishing furniture. Which is an awesome combo to love because flea markets, garage sales,,, or thrift stores are great places to find cheap rundown furniture that you can fix up and make your own.

I'm comfortable with painting and distressing furniture, but have no experience with sewing or reupholstering anything. I have a nasty wingback chair I desire to reupholster, but that's a more advance experience project I'm saving for another day. In the meantime, I'm looking for smaller and simpler projects to give me the experience I need with fabrics.

I found this cute little bench at the reclaimologist boutique a couple months ago. It's perfect for my entryway. I love it. But it was unfortunately upholstered. It simply would not due in it't current status. So I hopped online to and ordered up a faux dark brown leather, yellow and white chevron, and zebra prints.

First I removed the bench lid to make it easier to work with. Then, using pliers, hammer and flathead screwdriver, I removed the staples that held the offending fabric. I read a lot of upholstry blogs that say you can remove the staples simply with a butter knife. Those people are lairs. I ended up bending the tip of my butter knife and cursing angrily. What did work was using a hammer to gentle tap the flathead screwdriver under the staples and removing them that way. Even then some were more stubborn than others and only half of the staple would come out. In those cases I used the pliers to yank the rest out.

I discovered that underneath this awful fabric was an even more atrocious fabric. Also, who ever upholstered it put the offending fabric on inside-out. The underneath side of the fabric was clearly the side that was meant to be seen and not so bad looking, truth be told. Because I wanted an extra layer of padding, I left the original and atrocious layer of fabric, but doused it thoroughly with Lysol Disinfectant Spray. While that was drying, I used the piece of removed fabric as a pattern. I just laid it down on my leather fabric and cut out around it.

After the Lysol was dry and put my desired fabric on and began stapling it into place. Afterwards, I reattached the lid back onto the bench. I think I did a pretty darn good job for my first ever reupholstry project.

For my first sewing project I'm going to be making accent pillows for the bench out of the chevron and zebra print. That will be a different post for a different day though.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sleeping Beauty

Marcy will not sleep without a swaddle. I understand it makes them feel secure and comforted. Russell refused a swaddle though, as a babe, so it was all new territory for me and I didn't realize just how important it could be.

When she was a newborn (like one or two weeks) she wet through her diaper onto her swaddle. It was the only one we had and it wasn't wash day for a few days, so I just threw it in the hamper without giving it a thought. That night there was no swaddle. She slept terribly, which means me and Ryan did too. And we did the next night. And the next night. The third night at 5 a.m. it dawned on me that maybe her sudden terrible sleeping had something to do with that swaddle. I tried swaddling her up in a blanket and she went right to sleep and slept great. I did wash that next day and went and bought another swaddle ... just in case. I would never want to be caught without one again.

But her swaddle frequently provides us with morning humor. Here's my favorite so far. I woke up one morning, pulled back the covers and discovered this ...

How did she even do that??? Ha!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I love being a mother. The day my son was born making me a mother was the day I figured out the meaning of life and he's been teaching me more about life everyday since that beautiful Monday morning. Coincidentally, it also happens to be the first day I really began to appreciate and understand my mother and everything she has done for me. Now with the additional of Marceline my life is that much more full and rich.

I feel truly blessed to have had an excellent example of a mother growing up. I'm thankful for all she taught me and all the wisdom and knowledge she continue to give me when I need it. She was my pattern to follow. I know through my teenage years I rejected the idea of being like her, but now I feel honored to be like her.

And I feel truly blessed to have two beautiful, smart, happy and healthy boy and girl of my own now. I try really hard to be a good mom and do what I think is best. Even when it's the opposite of what my child wants and I'm torn between giving them what they want and what I know they need.

I also feel blessed to have such a wonderful husband who helped make me a mother and now is the provider for our family so I can stay home with my babies fulfilling my role as mother. I know it's an important and eternal role that I hope I can perfect as much as possible while here on Earth.

On a lighter note, check out the gift my husband and babes got me for Mother's Day (the owls). And Russell brought home this note from preschool which is pretty solid evidence to me why being a mom is the best job ever! There's also a picture of Russell the first night I brought him home from the hospital, Marcy in the hospital, Ryan holding Marcy, and Russell meeting his little sister for the first time.